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Old 05-20-2010, 08:01 PM   #1
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


I am trying to help a friend in an office building (used to be a bank, but remodeled) replace a bad ballast for a fluorescent fixture that holds 3 t8 4 foot bulbs.

When I removed cover and looked for ballast, there was none and when I looked above the dropped ceiling, the flex conduit ran straight to another light in the room.

There are 2 lights in the room. When I turn one switch on, the two outside lights in the fixtures go on, and the other switch turns both middle lights on. The switches are good.

Where is the ballast? I am thinking maybe there is one ballast in the other fixture for both?

The fluorescent lamps are brand new, and are getting burned out really fast, but today the new ones wouldn't even turn on (the outside lamps in the fixture without a ballast)

I don't do much commercial, so every fluorescent fixture I have ever looked at, has had a ballast.

Anybody have an idea where the ballast might be?

Thanks in advance...

Tim

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Old 05-20-2010, 08:21 PM   #2
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Remote ballast somewhere. Trace the wires from the tombstones to the ballast location.

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Old 05-20-2010, 08:49 PM   #3
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


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Remote ballast somewhere. Trace the wires from the tombstones to the ballast location.
It is probably time I buy a tracer anyway; any suggestions for a good one; having used them before, they are kind of like a stud finder, as they can sometimes be mislead/be wrong, but if you have a favorite, I would appreciate the suggestion.

Thank you.
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Old 05-20-2010, 08:55 PM   #4
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Follow the wires back from the tombstones(lampholders) to the ballast.
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:46 PM   #5
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


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Follow the wires back from the tombstones(lampholders) to the ballast.
Thanks again.

I called my C-10 and he says there is a master and slave ballast, most likely in the other fixture I did not open; the wires were going there, so I will open that one up.

My C-10 is on vacation, therefore my question, but he was not bothered by my phone call, thank heavens.

That is exactly what you just said.

Last edited by Timster; 05-20-2010 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:47 PM   #6
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Agree with other posts. The ballast will be in the other fixture. If your fixtures are one lamp then the ballast will be a two lamp ballast. And so on...
I actually worked at a radio station where all the fluorescent lights in the booths had ballasts mounted in a huge box in the hall closet. Eliminated the noise that would have been picked up by the mics.
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Old 05-21-2010, 08:30 PM   #7
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Keep in mind that a lot of commercial lighting uses 347 volt ballasts.
Be very sure of what voltages you are dealing with, as 347 volts can be very hazardous to your health.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:27 PM   #8
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


He is in the states so his high voltage lighting would be 277, i'm sure it would still hurt like a bugger if you got a shock.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:41 PM   #9
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


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He is in the states so his high voltage lighting would be 277, i'm sure it would still hurt like a bugger if you got a shock.
There you go, even in my old age I have learned something new today!
Never having been exposed to the US electrical, I wasn't aware that they don't use 347 there!
Its so common here, I assumed it was just something else that we hijacked from the US!
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:50 PM   #10
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


The building houses a law firm, and it is 3 phase 208, I believe; the 208 appears to be running 4 separate HVAC circuits, also. I am pretty sure the lights are on 120v however...

Thanks for the heads up, as I am new to commercial.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:59 PM   #11
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Wilde the US works on 480/277, not sure why there is a difference. Lets just be happy they use the same low voltage(120V) and frequency, can you imagine the headache if they didn't.
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Old 05-21-2010, 10:42 PM   #12
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


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Wilde the US works on 480/277, not sure why there is a difference. Lets just be happy they use the same low voltage(120V) and frequency, can you imagine the headache if they didn't.
I suppose that the higher the voltage the more load can be carried on a circuit!
Makes me wonder what was going on when the decision was made to deviate from the US.
For sure, having everything standard would be more economical.
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Old 05-22-2010, 03:02 AM   #13
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


When you deal with remote ballast make sure you double check the harness connector is good shape and not burnted up or corroed if have it there. { I have see that once a while }

Also check the ballast info some of the electronique ballast will NOT work with remote at all so if someone did replace the ballast and use the wrong type it will not lit up so keep in your mind with that.

Some of the ballast will list the max distance it can able run in remote mode.

I useally mark the luminaire for master or remote {M or R } { Maître ou éloigné = M ou E } so it will give me a quick head up when changing the bulbs.

Merci,Marc
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Old 05-22-2010, 08:37 PM   #14
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


Great info, also. Thanks French; I will check it out next week; not urgent, but I prefer a weekend for commercial work...

It sucked walking away without knowing how to fix it, but on the same call, I did happen to save them several thousand dollars, since a plumber came in and said the reason they have no hot water, is that there expensive electronic water heater system is fried.. Plumber suggests a new water heater; he is coming the next day, and I was in to turn off electricity so he could add new water heater... not going to happen now.

I come in and hunt down a subpanel finally, and the breaker is off; reset the breaker and the water is hot again; I recommended that if the breaker trips again, to call and have my C-10 come in to evaluate.

I am looking forward to finding this 'lost' ballast. ;-)

Last edited by Timster; 05-22-2010 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:50 AM   #15
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No ballast in 48 inch fluorescent fixture.


277/480 volt systems are used in commercial and industrial buildings where there are heavier loads. Also in street lighting where the number of watts for all the fixtures adds up.

Voltage drop in a wire is the same number of volts regardless of the circuit voltage. So the higher the circuit voltage, the less of a percentage energy loss is suffered in any given wire.

Water heaters are damaged if run empty. It is a good idea to get in the habit of turning on a hot water faucet and see it run prior to turning on a water heater, just in case the heater had been turned off for servicing.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-23-2010 at 06:53 AM.
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